By Daniel Pearce Tillsonburg News
An official declaration from Ontario’s chief medical officer of health that living next to wind turbines is not dangerous to your health has been rejected by at least a couple of residents in the southwest corner of Norfolk.
“If you don’t look for something, you’re not going to find it,” Stephana Johnston said, referring to Dr. Arlene King’s report released Thursday. “There’s nothing in the report that indicated she looked for anything. She did a review of the literature.”
Johnston, whose home west of Port Rowan is surrounded by 18 turbines, said she will appear before council tonight and ask them to join 58 other Ontario municipalities in calling for a moratorium on the building any new turbines.
An outspoken critic of the turbines, Johnston has sought medical treatment for “a stuffed feeling” in her ears and “a buzzing in my brain.”
The 79-year-old retired school teacher now rents a room in Delhi where she goes to on occasion to sleep. She blames the turbines for her health problems.
“When I leave my home, everything improves,” said Johnston, a former federal candidate for the Green Party in Haldimand-Norfolk.
Close to 700 windmills have gone up across the province in recent years as Queen’s Park embraces green energy efforts.
At the same time, a movement has started worldwide against them. Some experts warn longterm exposure to low-frequency vibrations from the swirling blades is causing a variety of problems for neighbours: sleeplessness, headaches, dizziness.
King’s report, however, pours cold water on those theories.
“According to the scientific evidence, there isn’t any direct casual link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects,” King said in a media release.
“The sound level from wind turbines at common residential setbacks is not sufficient to cause hearing impairment or other direct adverse health effects, but it may annoy some people,” the release added.
Johnston, however, said King’s study should have included talking to people living next to turbines.
“She did not examine a single individual. She did not ask other doctors to examine anyone.”
The vibrations coming from turbines are so strong they wake her up in the middle of the night, said a neighbour of Johnston’s, who asked her name not be used because she is trying to sell her home.
“I wake up every night,” the woman said. “It’s not what I hear. It’s what I feel. I feel pressure. I feel it in my head.”
When she lies down on her livingroom sofa, she can feel vibrations from the turbines that come through the house and cause her to become dizzy, the woman said.
“There are times people have to leave, it gets that bad,” she said.
Dozens of turbines have gone up in the former Houghton Township area in the past five years to catch the wind coming off Lake Erie.
Recently, the Ontario government announced plans for about another dozen at the other end of the county east of Port Dover.